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and fork, and seemed particularly fond of rich sauces, spices, paste, and plum pudding. "Well, doctor," said I, after the rest of the company had retired, "am not I a hero—a perfect anchorite?" "My dear sir," said he, "1 took the trouble to count every mouthful. You have eaten twice as much as an ordinary labourer, and tasted of every thing on the table." "But only tasted, doctor; while you—you—gave me a most edifying example. Faith, you displayed a most bitter antipathy to pies, custards, rich sauces, and most especially plum pudding." "My dear Ambler," said the doctor, " you are to follow my prescriptions, not my example. But, by the way, that was delightful wine, that last bottle—Bingham, or Marston, ey?'' I took the hint, and sent for another bottle, which we discussed equally between us, glass for glass. I felt so well, I sent for another, and we discussed that too. "My dear fellow," said the doctor, who by this time saw double, "my dear friend, mind, don't forget my prescription; no sauces, no spices, no paste, no plum pudding, and above all, no wine. Adieu. 1 am going to a consultation."
That night I suffered martyrdom; night-mare, dreams, and visions of horror. A grinning villain came, and seizing me by the toe, exclaimed, "I am Gout, I come to avenge the innocent calves who have suffered in forced meat-balls, and mock turtle, for your gratification." Another blear eyed, sneering rogue, gave me a box on the ear, that stung through every nerve, crying out, "I am Catarrh, come to take satisfaction for the wine you drank yesterday: while a third, more hideous than the other two, a miserable, cadaverous, long-faced fiend, came up, touching me into a thousand various pains, and crying in a hollow, despairing voice, "1 am Dyspepsy, come to punish you for the gluttony of yesterday." I awoke next morning in all the horrors of indigestion and acidity, which lasted several days, during which time I made divers excellent resolutions, forswearing wine, particularly old wine, most devoutly.
This time, however, I had one consolation. The doctor and not 1 was to blame. It was he that led me into excesses for which I was now paying the penalty. I felt quite indignant. *' I'll let him know," said I, "that I am my own master, and not to be forced to drink against my inclination." So I discharged the doctor who set me such a bad example, and called in three more, being pretty well assured that I should now hear all sides of the question. Professional men seldom or ever agree perfectly in opinion, because that would indicate that neither has an opinion of his own. They retired into my dressing-room, forgetting to shut the door. Doctors in consultation should always make sure to shut the door.
• He wants excitement," said Doctor Calomel, a thunderbolt of science, "there is—that is to say, the bile has got the better of the blood, and the phlegm has overpowered the atrabile—they are struggling like fury for the upper hand. We must give him a dose of calomel." "Not at all," quoth Doctor Jalap, whose great excellence consisted in the number of capital letters he carried at the tail of his name, insomuch that he was called the Professor of A. B. C, "not at all—the salt, sulphur, and mercury which Paracelsus affirms constitute the matter of all animal bodies, are in a state of disorganization. We must therefore give him two dozes of calomel." What a piece of work is man !—thought I—" salt, sulphur, and mercury!'' "The body being an hydraulic engine," quoth Doctor Rhubarb, who valued himself on his theory, "the body being an hydraulic engine, our remedies must be founded on the laws of magnitude, and motion; we must therefore give him three dozes of calomel in succession; the first to increase the magnitude of the stomach, the others, to cause motion." "Pish," quoth Doctor Calomel, "what nonsense is this, about salt, sulphur, and mercury; Paracelsus was a fool!" "'Sdeath," cried Doctor Jalap, he always swore by his old friend; "'sdeath! sir, if you come to that sir, what nonsense is this, about bile, and phlegm, and atrabile! and you sir," turning to Doctor Rhubarb, "with your hydraulic machine; you might as well call a man a forcing pump at once. Hippocrates was a great blockhead, and knew nothing of chemistry; and so was Meade, Borelli, and the rest of the hydraulic machines." The debate was getting hot, when Dr Jalap, who was a man of great skill and experience in his profession, interposed the olive branch. "Gentleman," said the doctor, "nothing weakens the influence of the profession, and destroys the confidence of the public in medicine, so much as the opposite opinions of physicians. Where is the use of quarreling about the disease, when we all agree in the remedy?" So they ordered the calomel.
But it would not do, though I continued my system of abstinence and only barely tasted a little of every thing; at the same time compromising matters with my conscience, by drinking twelve half glasses of wine, instead of six whole ones. The doctors on the whole, did me more harm than good. Their different opinions had conjured up a hundred chimeras in my fancy, and inflicted on me a host of new complaints I never felt before. Sometimes the conflicts of the bile and the phlegm, turned every thing topsy-turvy; anon the salt, sulphur, and mercury fell together by the ears; and lastly, the hydraulic machine got terribly out of order. It was no joke then, though now I can look back upon these horrors, as on a sea of ills, that I have safely passed over. My spirits began to fink; for I considered that I had now tried all remedies, and that my case was hopeless. The fear of death, swelled into a gigantic and disproportioned magnitude of evil, came upon me. I never heard of a person dying of a disease, let it be what it would, that 1 did not make that the bugbear of my imagination, and feel all the symptoms appropriate to it. Tims 1 had by turns, all the diseases under the sun ; sometimes separately, sometimes all together. The sound of a church bell, conjured up the most gloomy associations, and the sight of a church yard withered every feeling of hilarity in my bosom. In short, there were moments of my life, when I could fully comprehend the paradox of a human being seeking death, as a relief from its perpetual apprehension, as the bird flies into the maw of the serpent, from the mere fascination of terror.
It is one of the most melancholy features of the disease, under which I laboured, that it creates a most disproportioned apprehension of death; a vague and horrible exaggeration, if possible, ten times worse than the reality. In most other disorders the pain of the body supersedes that of the mind; in this, the mind predominates over the body, and the sense of apprehension of the future, swallows up the present entirely. This was the case with me; and often have I welcomed an acute fit of rheumatism, or colic, as a present cure for anticipated evils. I had another enemy to contend with, and that was the want of sympathy. People laughed at my complaints, when they saw me eat my meals with so good an appetite; for the world seldom gives a man credit for ailing any thing, when he can eat his allowance; nor is it easy to persuade the vulpar, that there is such a disease as appetite. Besides, a man who is always complaining, and never seeming to grow worse, is enough to tire the patience of Job, much more of such friends as Job and most afflicted people are blessed with. My mind was in a perpetual state of fluctuation. One day I threw all my phials, and boxes, and doses into the street, determined to take no more physic; and the next perhaps, sent for some more, and renewed my potions. 1 had lost by this time all confidence in physicians, but still continue to believe in physic.
For a while, white mustard seed was a treasure to me, and such was my firm reliance on its wonderful virtues, that I actually indulged myself in a few extra glasses, and a few extra luxuries on the credit of its prospective operation. I read all the guides to health, and all the lectures of Doctor Abernethy. In short, I took every means but the only proper ones, to effect a cure. I proportioned my eating and other indulgences, to my faith in the workings of my favourite panacea. When I took a dose of physic, 1 considered myself as fairly entitled to lake a small liberty the day after; and when I rode or walked farther than usual, I made the old wine, and the sauces, and plum pudding pay for it. It was thus that 1 managed to keep myself in a perfect equilibrium, and like another Penelope, undid in the afternoon the work of the morning. I found, after all, nothing did me so much good as laughing; but alas! what was there for me to laugh at in this world!
The summer of my second year of ease and luxury, I was advised to go to the Springs, where all the doctors send those patients who get out of patience at not being cured in a reasonable time. Here I found several companions in affliction, and was mightily comforted to learn that some of them had been in their present state almost a score of years, without ever dying at all. We talked over our infirmities, and I found there was a wonderful family resemblance in them all, for not one of us could give a tolerable account of his symptoms. One was bilious, another rheumatic, a third was nervous, and a fourth was all these put together. "Why dont you exercise in the open air?" said I, to this last martyr, one day. "I catch cold, and that brings on my rheumatism." "In the house then?" "It makes me nervous.'' "Why don't you sit still?" "It makes me bilious." I thank my stars, thought I, here is a man to grow happy upon; he is worse off than myself. He became my favourite companion; and no one can tell how much better I felt in his society.
We formed a select coterie, and managed to sit next each other at meals, where we discussed the subject of digestion. We were all blessed with excellent appetites, and particularly fond of the things that did not agree with us. "Really, Mr Butterfield, you are eating the very worst thing on the table." "I know it, my dear sir, but I am so fond of it." "My good friend, Mr Creamwell, how can you taste that hot bread?" "My dear sir, don't you see I only eat the crust." "Let me advise you not to try that green corn, Mr Ambler. It is the worst thing in the world for dyspeptic people." "I know it, my dear Abstract, but I always take good care to chew, before I swallow it."
Thus we went on discussing and eating, and I particularly noticed that every one ate what he preferred, because the fact was, he was so particularly fond of that particular dish, he could not help indulging in it sometimes. However, we talked a great deal on the subject of diet, and not a man of us but believed himself a pattern of abstinence. I continued my custom of riding every fair day, and occasionally met a fat lady fagging along on a little fat pony, with a fat servant behind her. One day when it was excessively hut, I could not help asking her how she could think of riding out in the broiling-sun. "Oh, sir, I've got thedyspepsy." 1 happened to see her at dinner that day, and did not wonder at it.
I passed my time rather pleasantly here with my companions in misfortune. We exchanged notes; compared our infirmities, and gave a full and true history of their rise, progress, and present state, always leaving out the eating. By degrees I became versed in the history of each. One was a literary man, and a poet. He set out in life, with the necessity of economy and exertion, and practised a laborious profession for some years, when by great good fortune he made a lucky speculation, that enabled him to lead a life of ease and luxury. He devoted himself to the muses, and gained enough of reputation, as he said, to make him indifferent to a thing which, he perceived, came and went by chance or fashion. However, he did not make this discovery until after several of his works had been condemned to oblivion. Not having the stimulative of necessity, and without the habit of being busy about nothing, than which none can be more essential to a life of ease and luxury, he gradually sunk into indifference and lassitude. He finally took to eating, and for want of some other object, came at last to consider his dinner as the most important affair of life. By degrees, he lost his spirits and health, and came to the Springs to recover them. "I ought to be happy," said he, "for I have an ample sufficiency of money, and as for fame, I look to posterity for that.
The next person of our coterie, was a man who in like manner had begun the world, a hardy, yet honest adventurer. By dint of unwearied perseverance and the exertion of his excellent faculties, he had risen, step by step, on the ladder of the world, until at the age of fifty, he was in possession of a fair estate, and an unsullied name. But he was sorely disappointed to find that what he had been all his life seeking, was in fact a shadow. This is the common error of sanguine tempers; they first exaggerate the object of their pursuit, and then quarrel with it because it does not realize their expectations. "I have all I ever proposed to myself in pursuing the means of happiness," said he, "and for ought I can reir.ember, I was happier in what I sought, than in what I found. I will retire from these vain pursuits and pass the rest of my life in ease and luxury." Accordingly he settled himself down, and having nothing else to think of in the morning, his time hung heavy on him till dinner. Of consequence, he began to long for dinner time; and of course dinner became an object of great consequence. It was an era, in the four and twenty hours, and you may rely on it, gentle reader, it was properly solemnized There are no people that eat so much as the idle. The savage, basking in the sun all